Louisville Officially Taking Papa John's Name Off Football Stadium

“Regardless of the context I apologize,” Papa John’s founder John Schnatter said Wednesday

Reports surfaced this week of John Schnatter using the N-word during a conference call in May while participating in a role-playing exercise created to prevent public relations crises, according to CNN.

The Washington Nationals has cut sponsorship ties with Papa John's following the resignation of its founder John Schnatter. "While we are appalled by John Schnatter's comments, we have had a long relationship with our local Washington-area franchise ownership and appreciate working with them as partners in our community".

In a radio interview with WHAS in Louisville on Friday, Schnatter said he was "just talking the way that the Colonel talked". He appears on its pizza boxes, in some of its TV ads and in the store's interiors. That prompted the company's stock to recover some of the losses it suffered after the report, and shares were up less than 1 percent Friday. The source told the AP they were "not aware" of plans to change the brand's name. Schnatter owns almost 30 percent of the stock.

Schnatter had used the slur during a media training exercise, Forbes said. Schnatter subsequently issued a statement acknowledging the use of "inappropriate and hurtful" language. The company can not afford to alienate customers, with sales already under pressure from rivals such as Domino's.

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The University of Louisville is removing Papa John's from its football stadium's name after a report the pizza chain's founder used a racial slur.

Schnatter has also stepped down as the company's board chairman after apologizing for the comment earlier this week.

Bendapui said at a news conference Friday that "there's too much hurt around" the Papa John's name right now. For the first three months of this year, Papa John's said a key sales figure fell 5.3 percent in North America.

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